Pin It Share on Tumblr


Francine Movie Review

Posted by bsimon On September - 15 - 2012 0 Comment

Title: Francine

Directors: Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky

Starring: Melissa Leo, Keith Leonard, Victoria Chestnut, Dave Clark, Michael Halstead

There’s a familiar saying that even a broken clock is right twice a day, which Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky’s assertively minimalist ”Francine” recalls. An emotionally impressionistic story of a recently paroled woman coping with life on the outside of prison, this character study feels like a less successful riff on Kelly Reichardt’s much more evocative “Wendy and Lucy” — caught up in its own metaphor, its blank canvas and broadly sketched melancholic tones an empty vessel for those who would like to automatically turn the personal into the political.

There isn’t much in the way of plot to “Francine.” Oscar nominee Melissa Leo stars in the title role, as a woman who leaves prison and tries to re-acclimate to life in a downtrodden lakeside town. Though awkward around pretty much all humans (she frequently doesn’t respond at all in conversation), Francine comes to life through animals. She gets a couple odd jobs at a pet store and then a veterinarian, taking in felines and other animals until her house begins to resemble an episode of TLC’s hit new show “Crazy Old Cat Lady.” Boozy interactions with other societal fringe-dwellers then ensue.

It’s not that “Francine” feels phony, necessarily — it just feels tripped up and smitten with the notion that in saying so little it’s actually saying a lot. Francine is fairly realistic emotionally stunted character, and Leo inhabits her with a deadpan commitment and complete lack of vanity – and not just because of a full-frontal nude scene in which she exits the prison shower. There’s just not enough latent intrigue or outside force upon Francine, and the movie’s elliptical psychological explorations feel half-sketched rather than arty.

“Francine”‘s no-frills, somewhat grubby production value and handheld cinematography are in lockstep with its austere narrative inclinations, and give the movie an undeniable intimacy. Laurie Collyer’s “Sherrybaby,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, or the aforementioned Reichardt film, starring Michelle Williams, though, are better examples of depressive American marginalia. “Francine” feels like a photocopy.

Technical: B-

Acting: B-

Story: D

Overall: C-

Written by: Brent Simon

Francine Movie

Processing your request, Please wait....

Do you like this story?

Create an email alert for Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Shockya on Facebook


Latest Movie Reviews

Kate Plays Christine – Movie

Kate Plays Christine Reviewed by: Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya Grade: B+ Director: Robert Greene Written by: Robert ...


The Intervention Movie Review

THE INTERVENTION Samuel Goldwyn Films Reviewed by: Harvey Karten, Showbiz Grade: B Director:  Clea DuVall Written by: Clea DuVall Cast: Clea ...

A Tale of Love And Darkness Movie Review

A Tale of Love And Darkness Mo

Title: A Tale of Love And Darkness Director: Natalie Portman Starring: Natalie Portman, Gilad Kahana, Amir Tessler, ...

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

Title: Imperium Director: Daniel Ragussis Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, Nestor Carbonell and Sam Trammell. ‘Imperium’ ...


Imperium Movie Review

IMPERIUM Lionsgate Premiere/Grindstone Entertainment Group Reviewed by: Harvey Karten, Shockya Grade: C Director:  Daniel Ragussis Written by: Daniel Ragussis from ...